CMS Issues Final Rule on Discharge Planning Requirements for Hospitals, CAHs, and HHAs

On September 26, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule updating regulations for hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), and home health agencies (HHAs) on the transition from acute care into post-acute care (PAC), a process called “discharge planning.” For CAHs, the final rule adds a new, separate condition of participation (CoP) specific to discharge planning. The new regulatory language outlines the standards for the discharge planning process, beginning with identifying those patients (at an early stage of hospitalization) likely to suffer adverse health consequences upon discharge in the absence of adequate discharge planning. Detail on the specific requirements is provided in the Federal Register. These regulations will go into effect on November 29, 2019.